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Cricket job puts graduate on top of the world

15 Jan 2019

USC Sport and Exercise Science graduate Nathan Dodd is aiming high after a short-term stint as the first international coach in Nepal’s T20 cricket league.

Mr Dodd of Maleny recently returned to Australia after being recruited as a head coach in the Everest Premier League, which drew cricketing legends from all around the world to Kathmandu last month.

His Pokhara Rhinos side failed to take out the top prize, but the experience has fired up the Cricket Australia High Performance (Level 3) coach’s desire for a long-term career coaching cricket at a national or international level.

“I enjoyed learning from working with elite international players such as English all-rounder Paul Coughlin, South African cricketer Richard Levi and Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer, as well as Nepalese internationals Binod Bhandari and Shakti Gauchan,” Mr Dodd said.

The 38-year-old former English county cricketer had a career in finance before enrolling at USC and secured a role as senior coach of the Australian Cricket team for players with an intellectual disability during his final year of study in 2017.

“My USC degree broadened my skillset and provided a thorough understanding around strength and conditioning, injury recovery, statistics and performance analysis,” he said.

“This allows me to combine modern-day coaching practices with a scientific viewpoint,” said Mr Dodd, who has also coached in Queensland’s T20 Premier League and is a consultant coach with Paramatta in the NSW Premier League.

His impressive track record led to Rhinos’ management approaching him at the end of last year to help raise the benchmark of domestic cricket in Nepal.

He said the T20 format, short preparation time and having to adapt quickly to a different culture and language presented some interesting challenges.

“With T20 cricket being so short, you always need a bit of luck to go your way in the tight games,” he said.

“It's also very different to coaching a squad that you are with for six or so months, where you have time to know the players’ strengths and weaknesses better.

“I didn’t have time to do much actual skills coaching so my vision was for our team to be the most attacking and exciting team in the tournament, so that every young player in Nepal will want to play for the Rhinos in the future.”

Mr Dodd hopes the role will lead to a long-term relationship with the Pokhara Rhinos, including facilitating pathways for talented Nepalese players to develop their individual games by playing competitively in Australia.

Since returning from Nepal, Mr Dodd has been coaching the Australian Cricket Team for players with an Intellectual Disability at two-week training camp in Geelong as it prepares for an international series in Brisbane later this year.

“I am also straight back in to my consulting coaching position with Parramatta in NSW Premier Cricket and hope to do some work with the NSW Blues over the next few months,” he said.

“I love cricket coaching however it is very competitive at a domestic or international level, so you have to keep improving.”

— Clare McKay

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